Analyze Nonprofit Leadership Attributes and Traits to Serve Society
OLB 7008, Assignment 6
DuBose, Justin Z.
Dr. Rosalind Gaines
2 June 2019
As the Senior Pastor of Missionary Alliance Church, one of the foremost responsibilities includes overseeing Columbus Christian Academy. Columbus Christian Academy is a pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade private school which serves approximately one-hundred and sixty-five students and employs fifteen full-time personnel.
Conducting a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis is the first step in determining not only the present state of the organization, but also allows the leader to examine leadership theory and styles to make necessary adjustments for the betterment of the organization. As organization leadership is recognized as distinct from organizational management, it is the unique responsibility of organizational leaders to conduct such critical analysis of nonprofit organizations (Henricks & Henricks-Lepp, 2014). The SWOT analysis for the present state of Columbus Christian Academy is found below.
Table 1. SWOT Analysis for Columbus Christian Academy
1. Our current staff-to-student ratio of 1:12 is the lowest ratio in the county.
2. Our 30-acre campus is the largest physical campus in the county.
3. As a private school, we have greater flexibility over curriculum and course offerings than any other school.
1. Our current percentage of certified faculty (10%) is the lowest in the county.
2. Limited course offerings
3. We currently have no institutional faculty evaluation process.
1. Our athletic program has tremendous potential with good coaches and resources and should be invested in.
2. Our policy manual and employee handbook can be revised to align with organizational goals and vision.
3. The implementation of an institutional faculty evaluation process will encourage professional development.
1. Area schools with 100% certified faculty threaten our enrollment due to academic concerns.
2. Our limited course offerings limit the types of students attracted to our school.
3. Our large 30 acre campus creates additional security concerns and makes us more vulnerable to attacks.
In conducting a SWOT analysis for Columbus Christian Academy, certain key organizational strengths and weaknesses emerged. It was discovered, for example, that from the capacity dimension of human resources and organizational resources (Bourgeois, 2014), our Academy is operating at a very healthy capacity level. Our staff-to-student ratio of 1:12, our current campus size of 30 acres, and our operating budget of approximately $500,000 are all signs of healthy organizational capacity. However, it was in our areas of learning benefits and evaluation planning (Bourgeois, 2014) that we discovered the greatest gaps. This was evident primarily in our organizational areas of faculty certification, continuing education, and staff evaluations. Each of these areas were identified as weaknesses. No initial examination was undertaken of external factors. Thus, internally, there are several healthy factors upon which we can build, namely our faculty and their ability to spend more time with individual students. However, those same internal factors also serve as our greatest threats if we do not continue invest in and develop them professionally.
In examining Strengths and Weaknesses of Columbus Christian Academy, it was determined that faculty evaluations and broader course offerings were an area in which organizational capacity could see immediate improvement. Furthermore, a SWOT analysis reinforced the need for broader course offerings as other area schools were increasingly offering a broader selection of course offerings to students. This lack of a wide selection of course offerings was also a reason cited by multiple school families as a basis for leaving Columbus Christian Academy in exit interviews. Therefore, a strategic decision was made “based on both a thorough analysis and the integration of various internal and external considerations” to immediately address this organizational weakness and threat (Blackwell, 2014, p. 81). As for the other areas of faculty certification and continuing education, it was determined through the SWOT analysis that, while these were areas identified as weaknesses and threats, they were less of an immediate internal consideration than these other issues.
SWOT Analysis & Its Impact on Leadership
This SWOT analysis clearly illuminated internal and external factors effecting the organization, and these factors play an important role in determining the most appropriate leadership style and theory. The most difficult factor in this equation is the fact that the organizational environment is dynamic, constantly changing, and has numerous elements all impacting the organization simultaneously. Consequently, a leadership theory that is static in nature will not be sufficient to address the present, and future, leadership challenges, and this consequence is supported by recent studies and research within the subject of organizational leadership.
Ana Tyssen, in an article for the Project Management Journal, noted that “leadership in temporary settings is confronted with characteristics that are only partially addressed by established leadership theories” (Tyssen, 2013, p. 66). In defining temporary setting, Tyssen points to the constantly changing nature of the workplace, noting that the environment at any given point is temporary and subject to change. This thought is echoed by similar research, which concluded that “the 21st century competitive global environment is dynamic, complex, and multi-cultural, and necessitates a more rapid response to changes to survive” (Smith, 2014, p. 1611). In order to lead a twenty-first century organization such as Columbus Christian Academy to become a thriving – or, perhaps, even surviving – institution, a new leadership style will need to be explored and embraced by those in leadership positions.
Traditional Leadership Theories
Traditional theories of leadership were largely suited to traditional working environments which did not necessarily have the dynamics of a twenty-first century organization. Transactional leadership, for example, has been widely researched and written about, but Latham (2014) points out that it has largely been insufficient for modern organizations in preventing abuses of power among organizational leaders. This glaring failure of this traditional leadership theory leads to a breakdown of trust between leader and followers and initiates the general breakdown of a healthy and desirable workplace culture. Ignatius (2013) notes the necessity of such fundamental issues throughout an organization. “Without a foundation of trust, a company’s employees may comply outwardly with their leader’s wishes, but they’re much less likely to comply privately – to adopt the values, culture, and mission of the organization in a sincere, lasting way”, and such is one failure of certain traditional leadership theories in the modern workplace.
Another shortcoming of traditional leadership theories is that a great many fail to sufficiently differentiate between the concepts of leadership and management. Sanders (2014) makes note of this when he says that “a significant problem with the traditional leadership perspective is it contributes to the confusion about the difference between management and leadership, or that the distinction is even necessary” (Sanders, 2014, p. 140). In the modern workplace, this distinction is paramount as leaders must influence their workforce through casting a compelling vision, and enabling and empowering followers to become leaders themselves (Bacon, 2011). Management, as opposed to leadership, of employees is not only an obstacle to such objectives, but often can serve as a prohibiting factor to their accomplishment (Sanders, 2014).
Leadership Theory for Dynamic Organizations
More will be required of organizations and their leaders in this modern climate in order to survive. Achim Schmitt wrote on this subject in the Scandinavian Journal of Management and concluded that “organizations face increasing competition and constantly evolving market demands. Such ever-changing environmental conditions create situations of high environmental uncertainty in which firms are unable to obtain all the information necessary to accurately predict and measure the potential outcomes. The ability to respond and adapt to environmental changes has thus become a vital success factor for organizations (Schmitt, 2015, p. 7).” This ability to “respond and adapt” will be integral for organizational leaders in the present environment and, subsequently, new leadership theories must be developed. In addressing this need, Tyssen noted that, “lately, several researchers have combined transformational behavior characteristics with emotional leadership approaches, underlining the shift from merely task-oriented leadership to the complex sphere of social interaction” (Tyssen, 2013, p. 60). This synthesizing of established leadership theories, such as transformational leadership (Landis, 2014), will need to be combined with developing theories such as emotional leadership (Tyssen, 2013) in order to adequately address both the internal demands and external challenges. Theories are being researched and developed will can aid the twenty-first century leader in this exercise of organizational leadership.
Smith & Lewis (2011) have “theorized a model incorporating these various approaches that involves managing paradox by accepting tensions as inherent, and shifting between choosing and accommodating alternatives over time” (Smith, 2014, p. 1595). This growing reality of workplace paradoxes – a necessary consequence of a dynamic work environment – leads to organizational leaders having to constantly shift their focus to larger patterns as opposed to individual decisions. This leads them to, as one researcher noted, “embrace inconsistencies in decisions, rather than to strive for consistency” (Smith, 2014, p. 1608).
The internal and external forces which constantly impact Columbus Christian Academy will require a dynamic leadership style. The organization faces both internal as well as external challenges, and those challenges continue to mutate and grow. Frequently, the leadership will be simultaneously stretched to meet the changing demands of the educational economy, developments in technology, and the influx of new students and families. Additionally, the challenges of faculty professional development and campus maintenance present additional challenges. In order for Columbus Christian Academy to survive and thrive, it will require leadership which is not only visionary, but emotionally intelligent as well in order to compel and motivate followers to strive for success. While these challenges are not insurmountable, they will demand more than management and require a flexibility on the part of leadership which can properly balance workplace paradoxes.
Bacon, T. (2011, July). Influence and Leadership. Retrieved June 2, 2019, from http://www.theelementsofpower.com/index.cfm/power-and-influence-blog/influence- and-leadership/
Blackwell, R. & Eppler, D. (2014). " An Approach to Strategic Situation Analysis: Using Models as Analytical Tools ". The Journal of Global Business Management, 10(1), 80- 86. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
Bourgeois, I., Whynot, J., & Theriault, E. (2015). "Application of an organizational evaluation capacity self-assessment instrument to different organizations: Similarities and lessons learned". Evaluation and Program Planning, 50(1), 47-55. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
Henricks, S.A. & Henricks-Lepp, G.M. (2014). “Desired characteristics of management and leadership for public library directors as expressed in job advertisements”. Journal of Library Administration 54, 277-290. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
Ignatius, A. (2014, July-August). Influence and Leadership. Retrieved June 2, 2019, from https://hbr.org/2013/07/influence-and-leadership
Latham, J. R. (2014). “Leadership for quality and innovation: Challenges, theories, and a framework for future research”. Quality Management Journal, 21(1), 11-15. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
Sanders, C.G. (2014). "Why the positional leadership perspective hinders the ability of organizations to deal with complex and dynamic situations”. International Journal of Leadership Studies, 8(2), 136-150. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
Schmitt, A., & Klarner, P. (2015). “From snapshot to continuity: A dynamic model of organizational adaptation to environmental changes”. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 31(1), 3-13. doi:10.1016/j.scaman.2014.06.003
Smith, W. K. (2014). “Dynamic Decision Making: A Model of Senior Leaders Managing Strategic Paradoxes”. Academy of Management Journal, 57(6), 1592-1623. doi:10.5465/amj.2011.0932
Smith, W.K. & Lewis, M.W. (2011). “Toward a theory of paradox: A dynamic equilibrium model of organizing”. Academy of Management Review 36, 381-403. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
Tyssen, A. K., Wald, A., & Spieth, P. (2013). “Leadership in Temporary Organizations: A Review of Leadership Theories and a Research Agenda”. Project Management Journal, 44(6), 52-67. doi:10.1002/pmj.21380
NG, LR, NCU, USAR
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